May 2012
DISCUSSION 10 Comments

First Look – New Ferry from Panama to Colombia

If you’re driving from Central America to South America, I expect that you already know that you can’t drive the whole way. Standing between the continents, Panama and Colombia are separated by a swath of jungle called the Darien Gap. There are no roads, and it is inadvisable to try to cross on foot due to the danger imposed by the jungle and the near certainty of being captured by the FARC or other paramilitaries.

Until now, the only way to cross the gap with a vehicle has been to load the vehicle in a shipping container and send it by container ship. The driver and passengers were then responsible for getting themselves to Colombia by plane or boat. The process is daunting, very time consuming (weeks), and has unfathomable amounts of red tape. Now there is a new option.

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  1. Katie Piehl

    Well, clearly, the people on the advertisement are having the time of their lives. Maybe they didn’t have to acquire a bill of lading or apply for mysterious documents

    Comment by Katie Piehl on May 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm

  2. Hi Guys… thanks for the update and hope all goes well with the crossing.

    Should be exciting to get into South America for new adventures.

    Looking forward to your continued updates!


    Comment by David on May 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

  3. Hey there,

    Good luck for the new ferry! Keep in mind, many things are still uncertain (according to the port administration in Cartagena).

    The probably cheapest way to get a vehicle from North or Central to South America is still traditional Ro/Ro from Panama, Mexico or the US to Cartagena.

    Air-cooled regards, Domi

    Comment by Domi on May 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

  4. Sally and Riley Rice

    Good luck! New and untested. Perfect!

    Comment by Sally and Riley Rice on May 18, 2012 at 11:24 am

  5. Thank you for posting so much information! We are driving from the US down into South America and are a few months behind you guys. May 31 is my birthday; t would be a wonderful present ofr all of us if your voyage goes off without a hitch. I look forward to following your progress.

    Comment by Zach on May 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm

  6. Gary Peebles

    If your figures are correct. It is cheaper to take this ferry. It cost us $1500 to have our Van shipped to Cartegena from Colon. Then we had to fly separately another $150+ apiece. Then we waited 9 days for our Container to show up, a little nerve racking. That was an additional hotel, food expense that I don’t even want to add up. So if you can put up with all the delays and hastle, do it. At least you will be with your van. Just think of the paperwork you have already gone through to get through each country. Shipping from Panama was of all the countries we went through all the way to Ushuiau, was the worst. If you have time and can wait it out with your van. Then it is the least expensive.
    good luck,

    Comment by Gary Peebles on May 23, 2012 at 10:41 am

    We paid for Ro/Ro Veracruz – Cartagena USD 550,- + port fees…

    Comment by Domi on May 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm

  8. Domi, was that from Veracruz Mexico? Ro/Ro from Colon seems to be about the same amount as the container, give or take.

    Comment by Brad on May 25, 2012 at 6:17 am

  9. Hey Brad,

    Yeah, that’s from Veracruz, Mexico!

    Theses Ro/Ro vessels (coordinated by Wallenius-Wilhelmsen, NYK etc.) are going all the way from Galveston/Houston (USA) via Veracruz (Mexico), Manzanillo (Panama), Cartagena (Colombia), Santos/Sao Paulo (Brazil) to Argentina and all the way back once a week (as an average).

    You could ship from the port of Manzanillo. The ocean freight for the vessel going to South America is always about the same if you’re booking it directly with the ocean carrier.

    Good luck & travel safely, Domi

    Comment by Domi on May 28, 2012 at 1:09 am

  10. Gabe

    Any ferry update guys?

    Comment by Gabe on May 31, 2012 at 7:02 am

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